The League Against Cruel Sports has issued a statement following the tragic death of Up for Review during today’s Grand National at Aintree.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Much has been made about the Grand National being made safer, yet we are again talking about the tragic death of a horse during the race.

This death shows starkly why the League has repeatedly called for tighter safety measures and the formation of an independent regulatory body with horse welfare at its heart.

“The death toll at the Aintree festival has now reached three horses which is simply unacceptable.”

The call is being made following figures released by the BHA that show the number of horse deaths on racecourses have reached a six-year high. In 2018 alone, 201 horses lost their lives during competitive races, but the League says just one death would be one death too many.

Chris Luffingham, said:

“National Hunt Racing is a hugely popular sport with the public, but this comes at a cost. We’ve all seen the hastily-erected screens around the fallen animals, and experienced the heartbreak that goes with it.

“With an average of nearly 200 horses dying on race tracks across Britain every year it’s clear that racing needs to give horse welfare the priority, especially for the racing calendar’s most arduous event, the Grand National.”

The League says that for the race to be run more safely the BHA should look at reducing the size of the field, the length of the race should be reduced, and all drops on the landing side of the fences should be removed - not just on the notorious Becher’s Brook jump.

With the eyes of the racing public around the world turned towards Aintree it is time to insist the racecourse and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduce these measures or to suspend the race entirely if they can’t be implemented.

Chris added:

“At the end of last year the British public sent a clear message to the government and the BHA via a 10,000-signature petition that horse racing should be made safer, including a call for an independent body to be set up with welfare at its heart.

“While a so-called Horse Welfare Board has been set up in response to this, there is little information about what its activities will be – but what is clear is that it falls well short of the regulatory board we and others have been calling for.

“It should be horse safety, not a public relations exercise, that is really its priority.”

Ends

Notes to editors

Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected] for any image, comment or interview requests

Information is available at https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/making-horseracing-safer/, via https://www.horsedeathwatch.com/ and for the Grand National at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_equine_fatalities_in_the_Grand_National

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).